Primary day in Florida and Arizona [UPDATED THROUGHOUT THE NIGHT]

Tonight, I’ll be following primaries in Florida and Arizona (in between watching tape of a German soccer match played last weekend). Florida’s big ticket contests are for governor.

On the Republican side, it looks like Rep. Ron DeSantis holds a commanding lead over state agriculture commissioner Adam Putnam. Putnam is the candidate of the state’s Republican establishment. DeSantis has the endorsement of President Trump. With more than one-third of the vote counted. DeSantis leads by 22 points, 57-35.

On the Democratic side, things are much tighter. Former congresswoman Gwen Graham, a relatively moderate Democrat and the daughter of former Governor and Senator Bob Graham, holds a slight lead over Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum, who is backed by Bernie Sanders. The tally so far is 33-30.

UPDATE: Things have really tightened on the Democratic side. With about two-thirds of the vote now counted, Graham’s lead is only 32-31. At FiveThirtyEight, Nathaniel Rakich says, correctly I think, that Democrats may be hurting in the general election if Gillum takes down Graham.

Meanwhile, in good news for both the Democrats and the nation, the deplorable Alan Grayson (remember him) has lost to Rep. Darren Soto in the Democratic primary in Florida’s 9th congressional district.

UPDATE: Gillum has pulled ahead and looks likely to win. However, it’s still too early to call the race.

Meanwhile, Donna Shalala, a blast from the Bill Clinton past, is winning the Democratic primary in the 27th congressional district. This is the seat being vacated by Republican Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen. The Miami Herald has declared Shalala the winner.

WE HAVE A WINNER: Bernie’s man Gillum has won the Democratic nomination for Florida governor. This sets up a hard-right vs. hard-left contest, just as in Georgia.

Meanwhile, at half time of the taped German soccer match I’m watching, it’s Mainz 0 Stuttgart 0.

LET’S TURN TO ARIZONA: The big one there is the Republican Senate primary. It features three candidates with national reputations — Rep. Martha McSally, Kelli Ward, and former sheriff Joe Arpaio.

Sheriff Joe described the field as a Democrat (McSally), a Libertarian (Ward), and a Republican (himself). I would describe it as a center-right Republican (McSally), a Tea Party Republican (Ward), and a hard-ass Republican (the sheriff).

Early on, it looked like Ward might beat McSally and, at a minimum, would give her a hard run. Now, the polls suggest that McSally will prevail pretty handily.

We’ll soon find out.


I JUST REALIZED: If McSally wins the primary, as she is expected to, Arizona will have its first female Senator — either McSally or faux moderate Democrat Kyrsten Sinema. So Gov. Ducey need not appoint Cindy McCain or any other of the females being mentioned as replacements for John McCain in order for that “ceiling” to be broken.

EARLY RETURNS reportedly strongly favor McSally. The suspense may revolve around whether she gets to 50 percent.

WE HAVE A WINNER: Various outlets have declared McSally the winner. In the last count I saw, she had just a tad more than 50 percent of the vote. Ward was at around 28 percent and Arpaio at around 20.

The analysts whose opinions I’ve seen say McSally is the most electable of the three Republican candidates. Some say she’s the only one of the three who can defeat Rep. Sinema.

It figures to be quite a campaign. Once McSally pulled away from Ward in the polls, she targeted Sinema with her ads.

In the ad below, McSally touts her exemplary military service (she led air strikes against the Taliban and was the first woman to fly a fighter jet in combat) and ridicules Sinema for protesting the military’s efforts in a pink tutu. Yes, a pink tutu.

Check it out:


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